For this month’s Employee Spotlight, I sat down with Sonu Chandra, staff software engineer on the UI - MobileIron Access team out of our Mountain View, CA office. She also started a chai tea group. Let’s learn more about her and the Chai tea group.
What do you like most about working at MobileIron?
The work I do. The support from management that enables me to do my work. The friendly culture and the talented people I work with. And the chai team :)
When did you start the group and why?
I am a chai lover. I started the group with fellow chai lovers. We were missing chai :)
We started in 2014 or early 2015.
What is your process to make it at MobileIron? Who is involved and how do you share the tasks?
Since we don’t have a stove to work with at HQ, we make it in the microwave. We use authentic ingredients like ginger and cardamom. It is traditionally made on stove top. I have tried to emulate the process in the microwave. Since we make this for a crowd, we use four microwaves, but you can adjust this recipe for smaller servings.
Below is the recipe for ginger chai masala:
- Boil two flasks of water (we use electric kettles)
- Peel and grate 1 big piece of ginger, add some water and heat it up in the microwave for 2 mins.
- Heat up milk in the microwave for 3 minutes, 4 cups/500 ml in a large glass bowl/pitcher. (We use two large 8 cup measuring cups)
- Once the milk is heated, in each container of milk add:
- 6.5 tablespoons of dry black tea leaves
- 6 packets (6 teaspoons) of raw sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon of chai masala (a spice mix which the main ingredient is cardamom but the exact recipe is a secret!)
- Divide your grated ginger in half and add to each container
- pour the hot water until you have 8 cups/2 liters of liquid in each
- Heat up the milk and ingredients for 6 minutes. Watch it closely! Stop the microwave and stir anytime you see the liquid bubbling over--about every minute, and then keep it going.
- Stir it up, strain and serve
When we started, we would just start making the tea and people would come volunteer. Then we would all share the tea. Now we are a much larger group. So, we have groups of 4-5 making tea each day. The tea is shared with the larger team. Everyone has a job such as grating the ginger, heating up the water or milk and washing the dishes. It has been a fun way for people from other teams to connect and get to know each other.
What are some traditional ways to make chai? What is your family’s way to make it?
It is traditionally made on the stove top using a handful of ingredients - black tea leaves, milk, sugar, spices. Each family has their own variant, which is their perfect version.
Please share some history on masala chai and its use.
Masala chai; literally "mixed-spice tea" is a popular tea beverage with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. It originated in India but is now enjoyed throughout the world. Chai Masala is a prominent feature in most Indian homes. Although every family has a different recipe the main ingredients are always water, tea leaves, milk, sugar, cardamom, and ginger. Did you know that “chai” is directly translated to the word tea?